All posts filed under: Life Lessons

Why It’s Important to #SayOurAge

A little while back I wrote an op-ed for a German newspaper. I was on the phone with the editor, going over the final draft, when he said to me, “Now, I have to ask you something, and I want to apologize in advance. I would never normally ask you this, but unfortunately our newspaper insists. It is standard policy and so please forgive me…” He was so embarrassed and stumbling and apologetic that I got rather worried and was thinking, my God, what on earth is he about to put me through? – and he finished with, “How old are you?” I was so taken aback I burst out laughing. I said, good grief, I have no problem telling you that at all – I’m 58.  I don’t have a problem saying my age. But society does.  I recently went into a store to buy a birthday card for a friend. I came out empty-handed – because every single card I looked at was ageist. Other than the overly serious affectionate birthday greetings, which …

The Jordache House on 140th Street

Growing up in Brooklyn, I was all about labels. I went from purchasing Sears’ Toughskins  — with the patch on each knee — to an obsession with getting a pair of Jordache. In the ‘80s, Jordache jeans were heavily advertised on TV and were a must-have by any pre-teen girl. They had that thick maroon label with a horse stitched on, placed right above the back jean pocket. I pled with my mother until she finally bought me a pair and wore them until the last stitch fell off. As I got older, my obsession switched to Guess Jeans, the triangle-logo’ed, acid-washed style, which in retrospect looked like an accident of two tones of denim placed into one dungaree. It was around this time that I met a group of girls and guys who took the Green Line bus from Rockaway, Queens to the junction in Brooklyn. They entered our school, with their mousse-abused 80’s hair, tanned skinned and big oversized glasses. In the midst of urban New York, this group stood out from the (Park) Slopies …

I’m Not Religious, But I Believe in Pat

Had I posted a classified ad when I was searching for a nanny for my kids, the copy might’ve read something like this: Wanted: Delightful woman to impart kindness, manners and respect to my children. Infectious giggle a real plus. And wouldn’t you know it? That very person knocked on my door, arriving a few months before my second son was born. She stayed for 20 years. Pat’s few shortcomings as a nanny (she could be a dangerous laundress and a mystifying cook) were far outweighed by her loveliness. I remember calling my house from my office to hear her answer the phone with her charming Guyanese lilt and perfect enunciation: “Hello, good afternoon, may I help you?” she’d trill. It was all I could do not to hang up and call back just to hear her say it again. Pat had endless patience for rambunctious boys and a true appreciation for games. She actually enjoyed playing Chutes and Ladders, while I only pretended to do so. She declared my children both geniuses and gifted …

I Don’t Fit In. And Neither Do My Halloween Costumes.

My motto for Halloween costumes is: If it fits in the car, it’s not worth doing. I go big or go home, and it MUST be made with my own two hands. Since I was little, I’ve loved making things. It doesn’t matter what – cookies, a sweater, a film. I was the kind of kid who spent hours alone building sandcastles on construction sites or crafting elaborate fantasy worlds inhabited by Barbies and Star Wars action figures. The kind of kid who devours a Nancy Drew in one sitting. The kind of kid you don’t realize is actually in the house until she shows up gushing blood from her head or finger. To me, these wounds were minor sacrifices in the pursuit of making stuff. So when it comes to Halloween, I don’t bother with your gypsies Roma, your bums, your girl in a poodle skirt. I was born to eschew store-bought costumes — partly due to my creativity and partly due to my weirdness. I didn’t really fit in as a kid. I spent hours analyzing …

Why I Don’t Need You to “Mansplain” It to Me

As I walked to my seat at a gathering last week, a male acquaintance grabbed me by the elbow, spilling my coffee. “Whoa,” I said. “What are you doing?” “That’s what you get for not saying hello to me,” he said. “You spilled my coffee,” I said and kept walking. I could focus on the details here of how I know this person casually and that he has previously told me out of the blue that I’m “intimidating” and that I don’t speak to him as much as he’d like me to. I could get into how I get nervous in groups and how I generally need to locate a safe spot and/or a safe person in the room, and in that process I can skip acknowledging people accidentally. And God knows I probably don’t smile enough at anyone, especially men, based on feedback I’ve gotten whether I’ve asked for it or not. I can note how I was walking to that safe spot the other night with my too-full coffee when he interrupted me …

Confessions of a Hopeful Hoarder

I love my stuff — my books, my clothes, my jewelry, my art, my notebooks, my giant Hello Kitty pillow that I snuggle up to at night (even though I’m 38). I don’t mean “love” as in the woman who married the Eiffel Tower — my belongings and I are on a strictly platonic basis. But it’s still a love that runs deep and strong, and I don’t necessarily think that’s a bad thing. I should tell you right off the bat that I’m a hoarder. My impulse is to add. I’d say “not like those people you see on TV,” but that would only be half true. My former apartment was right up there in terms of clutter horror stories. I had to shove the main door hard against all the papers, books and assorted items on the floor in order to eke out enough room to squeeze through. I walked over piles of stuff in every room. I lived in fear that my landlord would need to come in and would evict me …

That Time I Was Totally Naked On Stage

I don’t recall the first time I undressed on a stage. Probably college. Taking clothes off in the presence of others is not unusual for an actor; you do an onstage costume change with dim lighting between scenes or a love scene in which you unbutton your shirt until you’re left in your bra or, lordy knows, your character is arbitrarily described in some super sexy way and the costume designer has given you a skirt so short you can’t sit down without flashing the front row. Even if you don’t strip on stage, you certainly do behind the scenes. Every actor has done the lightening fast scene change that requires one stagehand to rip off your clothes, one to Velcro on your new outfit and one to swap your wigs — all while you’re holding your arms straight out, breathing deeply and switching dialects for your next character. There’s no time to worry about anything other than whether or not your underwear is clean. (Remind me to tell you about the time I unexpectedly …

Why I’ve Aged Out of Embarrassment

Lately, I’ve grown increasingly pissy about this aging thing. Frankly, I can’t find much to like about getting older. My back aches, my hips are tight, I sleep too little and eat too much. My skin is dry, my hair is gray and I can’t see a thing without a pair of reading glasses, which I can never find. But there’s one aspect of aging that I’ve happily embraced: Almost nothing embarrasses me anymore. For most of my life, I’ve been hyper-conscious of drawing unwanted attention to myself by performing poorly. I cringed over every perceived shortcoming, constantly comparing myself to others. Somebody was always better at something. Well, that will always be true, but the difference now is I care a lot less. At this point, my heroes aren’t necessarily the best or brightest. My role model is Popeye who proudly proclaimed, “I yam what I yam, and that’s all what I yam.” This doesn’t mean I no longer give a hoot about trying to be a better me; I’ve simply become more accepting …

tuenight stream brian diedrick

I Broke Up with Binge-Watching and I’ve Never Been Happier

My name is Brian, and I’m an episodic TV addict. I’ve been clean for over 100 days now. That’s right. Clean. No Piper and Alex. No Phillip and Elizabeth. No Starks. No Lannisters. No Netflix. No Amazon Prime Instant. No HBO GO on my friend’s account. By last fall, my “denial” cover story about my nasty habit was collapsing. I could no longer fool myself that I merely enjoyed the golden era of prestige TV in the age of genius showrunners like Gilligan, Simon and Chase My viewing habits had broken bad. Really, really bad. Paying full Prime retail for an all-night binge on USA’s mediocre law firm procedural Suits bad. Bad as in hearing not voices but rather an insane mash-up track, starting with the opening violin theme from The Americans, adding in The Sopranos bass line, layering over the House of Cards theme (because it’s the basically the same song ) and then topping it off with the Game of Thrones cello bad. Terrible. But things are better now. Much better. Subtracting episodic …

A List of 42 Things in My 40s That I am #SoOver

  When you reach this wonderful 40+ phase of life, there are people, customs and articles of clothing that you’ve decided, finally and firmly that, you know what? I am SO over that. I can’t and won’t stomach it any longer — and I don’t need to. These things might seem innocuous to other people, or even delightful to others, but you’ve decided you’ve had enough and you’re finito. And you don’t give a shit what anyone else thinks. Let me caveat this first by saying that of course I’m SO OVER hatred, injustice, racism, sexism, homophobia and world hunger more than anything on this list. But this is not that list. It’s hot. I‘m cranky. Allow me to flex my inner curmudgeon. I am so over… Any summer festival where indoor plumbing isn’t readily available. My under-the-bed bin of “someday” clothes. Marie Kondo, much love. People who don’t let you leave before they enter. Manners! And while we’re on manners — impatient restaurants. Kombucha on tap at coffee shops. Going out on the weekends. Hello, …

Why I Begged My Mother to Take Me Out of the Gifted Program

I understand what they were trying to do. When my teacher nominated me to be sent to a different classroom for part of each day, a class with older and more advanced learners, it was her way of keeping me interested in the learning process. Our school system was 90 percent black and, according to standardized tests, most of us were performing below grade level. Not me. At nine years old, my reading aptitude test scores were at the college level. My mother was so happy that she took out an ad in the local paper congratulating me for my grade-school accomplishment. She was proud. I was bored. For weeks after the test results came in, my teacher would create separate spelling tests and reading lists just for me to try to keep me engaged and challenged. I understand that was probably an extra burden on her. If I was a third grade teacher and one of my students was reading Romeo & Juliet during silent reading time, I might suggest she needed to join …

How My White Perspective on Freedom Has Changed

Until fairly recently, I didn’t think much about how easily and freely I moved in this country. I took for granted the dozens — no, hundreds of interactions and experiences that I had over the course of any given week where I could just be, without worry, fear, accusation or confrontation. I have been able to work and live and love and play and move without really recognizing that these were freedoms, rather than just part of my daily life as an American. I took all of this for granted because America, the country that I love dearly, is “the land of the free, home of the brave.” [pullquote] I have been able to work and live and love and play and move without really recognizing that these were freedoms, rather than just part of my daily life as an American. [/pullquote] And while I’ve known that injustice and unfairness exist, I didn’t really know it. Not down to my bones. I didn’t really see that if we are not all free, then none of us …

Like Crickets to Fireworks: Blogging About Race

My first taste of online publishing, in 2005, was inspired by a now-defunct blog written by a teacher in Chicago. She wrote about her classroom and her students, and even though I hadn’t been there, she brought her surroundings to life in a way that felt so familiar. As a longtime educator myself, I could relate. Eventually, we would meet in person and become good friends. In that time we experienced marriage, a divorce, and children. Her writing opened my world up to freely express myself as a writer. In one post, she wrote in detail about one of her students, a reluctant reader, to try a book that she suggested. She clearly cared about her students and spoke of them in a way not often seen by those outside the profession. It reminded me of how I tried so hard to find something palatable for my students. Within a year, I decided that I wanted to do the same thing, share my own stories in a blog. So, I purchased my own domain name …

9 Days, 5 States and One March for Justice [PHOTOS]

On April 13, 2015, Justice League NYC gathered folks from New York City and around the country to march to Washington, DC in order to push for criminal justice reform legislation in our nation’s capital. The event culminated in a concert and march on April 22. Creative Mornings Community Director and social activist Sally Rumble decided to pack up and go (she joins below on Day 6.) Here is her story, in pictures. (Thank you to photographer Alex Arbuckle.) DAY 1: Staten Island step-off led by three women of color Somewhere in NJ Day 3: Blisters set in PAIN. Poem by student poet following the murder of Trayvon Martin and acquittal of his killer moves marchers to tears Day 4: Hello, Pennsylvania Stretch break PA STATE TROOPERS. Carmen equipped with a camera in case of police brutality directed at her BRUCE. Former Black Panther in the 70s. He marched the entire 250 miles without injury HOSTILITY. In Maryland, Confederate flag sightings, drivers yelling, “White Power!” and the n-word LOVE. Milly FaceTimes her three children while marching ALEX. Official March2Justice photographer and …

A Superstar in Hiding

I knew it was wrong when I was doing it — it felt wrong. I was 11 years old. Ok, I was 12 and I was hiding a big secret from my school friends and my family. I kept that secret in a brown paper bag disguised as a school lunch. It wasn’t a dark Judy Blume-like secret. That would have been awesome. My secret was a pretty embarrassing one. And when I say “pretty,” I’m talking Superstar-Barbie pretty — and therein lies my secret. I was a 12-year-old girl, still obsessed with my Barbie and Ken dolls. Not to mention the Dream Townhouse and Barbie Airplane. I loved them all. It was the ‘80s — kids respected smoking cigarettes in the bathroom back then, and I knew my Barbie obsession was the equivalent of middle school social suicide. Knowing all that, I still couldn’t break-up with Barbie and Ken. They were perfect. Who wouldn’t want to be beautiful, blonde tall and skinny? The short curly girl brunette in me loved hanging around in my …

Sounds Like Target

“It’s Margit. M-A-R-G-I-T,” I say. As I always do, I emphasized the “I.” The barista doesn’t look at me, but I watch him scrawl out “M-A-R-G…” on the familiar white cup. He pauses for a moment. He continues with his Sharpie, “A-R-E-T.” It happens almost every single day, but for some reason, today, this misspelling seems hilarious. A little blip in his brain told him, “No, what you’ve heard her actually say is wrong, go with what you know.” Hi, I’m Margit. It sounds just like Target. In fact, that’s the only word that rhymes. Or I might say, “It’s Margit, like Supermarket, but with a g instead of a k.” [pullquote]I actually love my name. It’s weird. It’s funky. It makes people stop and scrunch up their nose. It’s a cross I have to bear.[/pullquote] In fact, it sounds exactly the way it’s spelled. Go figure. People want to say Margeet. Market, Morgan, Margot, Margie, Mar-GET. Nope, it’s MAR-GIT I actually love my name. It’s weird. It’s funky. It makes people stop and scrunch …

Hey, it’s Juice! How My Camp Nickname Gave Me Confidence

When I was eight years old, I attended my first year of Camp Kinder-Ring, a sleepaway camp in upstate New York. Our first breakfast of the summer was served in a wood-framed dining room, where bunkmates sat together at large oval tables. The waiters, 16-year-old campers, served us soggy scrabbled eggs and individual boxes of Kellogg’s cereals, my favorite being Sugar Pops. In the center of each table was an aqua blue plastic pitcher which held the watered-down orange juice. “Can you pass the juith?” I asked another bunk member. “The juith?” he asked, and the rest of the table laughed at my slight lisp. “Do you mean the JUICE?” [pullquote]For many, an alias allows someone who is normally a Clark Kent to find their Superman.[/pullquote] Now I know some of you are already gripping your easy chair, preparing for an unsettling Lord of the Flies-type essay about mean boys and the bullying of the weak, but that is not the story here. I was lucky that the story veered off course into one of …

What The Truck: New York City Life in an F250

Right after I got married, my new husband decided that he wanted to indulge in the utmost of New York City extravagances: a car. Owning a car in Manhattan is a fruitless proposition that no one can truly understand unless you live there. Contending with street sweeping schedules and parking regulations even the police don’t fully understand is a menace few have the constitution for. Greg, however, decided it would make him feel less marooned on the isle of Manhattan if we could flee over the bridges in a car of our own. The problem was that he didn’t buy a car. He bought a very large and very old truck. I figured we weren’t getting a Mercedes by the Craig’s List posting which contained the very compelling sales pitch: F250. Good. Cash. Brooklyn. What the seller failed to list was the age of the truck. [pullquote]When he first pulled that beast into the parking garage attached to our apartment building, the doorman took one glance at that truck and said, “Oh, hell no.”[/pullquote] It wasn’t …

Butter

Since spending six months abroad in Madrid, I often follow the Spanish method of enjoying breakfast. Instead of scrambled eggs and bacon, I dive right into thinly sliced jamón Ibérico on freshly toasted bread and chunks of cheese. I continue to fall hard for manchego, large croissants slathered with butter and a dollop of a fruity jam. It brings memories of a host mother who spoke very little English but knew food to be the universal language. “Quieres un sandwich, Heather?” she asked as I rushed to get out the door. I would take her up on the offer of tortilla Española on soft bread. She put butter on that, too, and offered it up with a grin. *** I share this anecdote as a way to show you how far I’ve come. You see, I used to be afraid of butter. Being asked whether or not I would like butter for a roll, or on mashed potatoes, caused a panic. I would hear the word “butter” and my chest would tighten. My face would …

Don’t Stand So Close to Me. Especially at the Grocery Store

I love my personal space. At the same time, I also try to remember that I’m on the planet as one person among many, many other people. I try to help where I can and leave others in peace to be themselves — to “do them,” as it were. Until they’re behind me in the grocery line. Apparently, I have some deeply held beliefs about how much space I can expect to have to for myself, and about how little is too little. If I see you in a yoga studio without your mat space clearly marked on the floor, I will show you exactly what I mean. I’m not bragging about this predisposition. I’m not excited about anything that makes me feel intolerant of other people and their pushy, all-up-on-me ways. I can concede that it’s not them, it’s me. Kinda. [pullquote]Sting and I are on the same lyrical page with at least one thing. Don’t stand so FREAKING CLOSE to me.[/pullquote] I don’t hate people, I swear. I’m not a germaphobe. I was …

Barely Qualified: Notes From a First-Time Exotic Dance Judge

I never saw the Diamond G-String with my own eyes, and I’m not sure if it truly exists. As prizes go, among prizes for getting naked at least, this alleged jeweled garment has the draw and cachet of a netherworld tiara. Given every year by a club in Philadelphia — the kind where “gentlemen” appear in quotes alongside “dancers” — this win crowns one girl above the rest. Forget, for a second, any glass-beaded lingerie. Holding the title alone, she can up her earnings, command more. Bank on prime-time slots on stage, better placement in the floor rounds. Choose her as a winner, and you can change that stripper’s year. (An intervention that appeals to many of the kind of people who don’t actually frequent strip clubs.) I say all this only before you ask — so, what kind of connoisseur gets to award this prize? Who gets to determine what’s hot and coveted by strip-club goers for a whole 12 months? Well, one year, I did. * * * “What would you like, hun? …

We Asked Our Readers About TueNight. Here’s What You Said

After a year and a half of publishing TueNight (from our offices, from home in pajamas, from far-flung spots as varied as Virginia and Ireland), we were curious to hear from you, our readers. We wanted to get in your heads a bit and hear what you’re thinking: What do you dig? What are you bored of? And how can you tell us this really great theme you’ve been waiting for us to pick? So we set up a very short questionnaire online and asked. (Only five questions? That’s like a speed date!) Nothing majorly soul-searching, just a gut check to make sure we’re having the right conversations. And we loved your responses — which we will now share. We can’t thank you enough for your time and your thoughts. Here are our questions and your answers. 1. What themes should TueNight.com do next? It was very interesting to see that lots of you want to talk about relationships: specifically, reconnecting with spouses, dating after divorce, dealing with kids in college, being the non-mom around …

gossip tuenight bruce jenner

The Gold-Medalist Rule: The Problem With That Bruce Jenner Cover

When I was a women’s-magazine staffer, I was the very last person to hear or share office gossip. Quite literally, my cube wasn’t close enough to anyone else’s to exchange whispers; I called my little corner of the floor The Land of Wind and Ghosts. I also took The Devil Wears Prada, which was embedding itself in pop culture just as I entered publishing, way too seriously: If I wanted to avoid becoming a magazine-world grotesque, I figured, I should keep my personal and professional lives separate and my secrets to myself. No nicknaming mutual enemies at Happy Hour or gently toxic GChats for me. Keeping up with celebrity gossip, on the other hand, was a small but significant part of my professional responsibilities. I was the research chief, queen of the fact checkers, and I had to be dead sure everything we said about the beautiful people was demonstrably true. I once spent a dark afternoon of the soul trying to confirm the spelling of an actor’s dog’s name. I had to scour the …

Tales of T.M.I.: When Does Oversharing Become Overbearing?

T.M.I. Too much information. Ever shared more than you should? Ever gone out on a limb, to have no one join you there? You, too, could be a practitioner of T.M.I. You’re oversharing, of a very personal sort, to folks who may or may not want to hear it (but, let’s be honest, probably not). Like colleagues. Folks at church. Your not-well-curated social media networks. Unsure if you’ve ever done it? Let’s assess, via criteria I like to call “The 7 B’s”: Is it about bodily fluids? Is it regarding bedroom activity? Does it involve your boobs, your bump, your bum or your balls? And finally, not a B but an important question: Did you experience sharing regret — even a smidge? If yes, to any/all of these criteria, then you might be an oversharer. According to Urban Dictionary — esteemed and accurate source that it is — T.M.I. is, “information more personal than anyone wants, or needs, to know.” Word. Now, don’t get me wrong: There are some times when oversharing might be appropriate. In …

TueNight Labels Wendy Goldman Scherer

I’m Sensitive about Labels. And Not The Kind You Think

I’m a sensitive person. Well, at least that’s what my mom always said. As a kid, I’d cry at the drop of a hat. And in college. And maybe even for a while longer than that. Though I’ve toughened up a bit, I still tear up at some of the oddest things, and admittedly, not that infrequently. I feel a lot. If I even think I might have hurt someone’s feelings, I get physically ill and find it nearly impossible to shake off. I am not saying this to impress you; it’s a horrific handicap. I just can’t help it. And when someone raises a voice to me – even if it’s not directed at me – I fall to pieces. It’s genetic. My mom is super sensitive, too. I remember watching her when I was little. If anyone had a harsh word, the tears would well up in her eyes. On the (very few) times that my father got angry and raised his voice, she and I both would shrink into ourselves. I truly …

The Super Weird Thing I’m Thankful For

We asked a few of our contributors for the things they’re thankful for — not the obvious things, like family, food, water, health — but those little intrinsic things only they can appreciate. A dishwasher named Sven is perhaps my favorite.  In fact, two of our contributors actually named their beloved inanimate objects, because they are so fond of them. Let the weird begin… Vamps I can’t live without trashy romance novels, the worse the better, even better if they involve vampires — did I just write that out loud? Guess I did. There is nothing like a bad romance novel to wipe out the convoluted work of trying to build a tech start up and dealing with wireframes and coding by day. —Adaora Udoji Zzzs with JJ JJ is my travel-size down pillow. I really don’t think I could sleep without him. I come from a long line of pillow-namers 🙂 I can roll it up and put it in my suitcase! —Wendy Goldman Scherer Pick Up The Damn Phone I am thankful for people who still …

Ode to a Lost iPhone (A Poem)

It’s morning in ChelseaI have but a selfieto show where you might last have been.I’ve scanned all the garbagePeered under the cushionsI love you like dearest of kin. Are you in the dryer?Looked lower and higherIn search of my wee data fix.Seems my 5S is goneI’m such a moronMaybe I now buy a 6?I lost all my contactsMy apps are for naughtHow can I now get an Uber?Hailing a cabAnnoying and drabFeeling like such a big loser.How ’bout the cloud?Oh, I was too cheap!to cough up for additional storage.Hubris, my friendYou got me againPlease now talk me down off of this high ledge.Hey — I never claimed to be a poet. Although poetry writing was my major in college. Whatever. Just read on, phone owner.My license allows(poetic that is)To above say some technical fallacyOf course I have back upto prevent for the lack ofmy iJunk but oh now-you-seeHow punished a girl(a person, to wit)Can feel by the loss of a phoneTo keep track of my gearand prevent such bad fearI may need a personal drone.So …

If You Were at Camp Kweebec, You’d Be Home By Now

“Welcome home.” You’ll find this simple greeting on a wooden sign at the end of a short and very bumpy dirt road in Schwenksville, Pennsylvania. Schwenksville (zip code 19473) is as epic as it sounds — it’s a hilly, leafy town in the exurbs of Philadelphia that had a small cameo in the book The Corrections. Schwenksville is also home to Camp Kweebec, an overnight camp for boys and girls founded in 1935, and, for more than a decade, my summertime “home away from home.” I both attended and worked at Camp Kweebec in the 1970s and 1980s, spanning ages nine to 19. Once school was out every June, I jumped on the camp bus from a Lord & Taylor parking lot in suburban Philadelphia and never looked back. My sister and both of my brothers went to Kweebec, as well. So did at least five of my cousins. I’m not trying to one-up my fellow campers, but I also got married at my camp, in a gazebo overlooking the lake. Anyone who was there will …

How I Tried to Get Kicked Out of Camp — And The Life Lesson I Learned

I was six years old when I first went to camp. It was a month-long sleepover camp in Canada, hundreds of miles from my house. It was also my very first time away from home. My best friend was going, so of course it was all that I wanted in the whole wide world. For God knows what reason, my Mom said yes. I was all big glasses and big heart and I couldn’t wait for camp to start. My mom and I bought a trunk. We neatly packed summer clothes. We hid contraband Twizzlers and other sweets that wouldn’t melt. We packed stationary, stamps and addresses. Once we arrived and my cabin was assigned, I met my fellow campers and got the grand tour. Everything seemed a-ok. The first few days were filled with meeting new people, playing games, going to free swim and electives like arts & crafts. But starting around day six, I got tremendously homesick. It started as a small trickle at first. I missed my bed, my house, my mom. …

What Makes an Amazing Live Show? It’s All in the Secret Sauce

A hot damp breeze blew across the infield as a bank of dark clouds rolled in. The crowd collectively braced against the first fat drops of rain. On stage, Robert Plant and Alison Krauss moved through a set of songs from their collaborative album, Raising Sand, with Plant’s grizzled tenor the salty counterpoint to Krauss’ angelic soprano. No doubt, this was a good show. Then the whole damn thing kicked up about a thousand notches as the band played the opening bars to the Zeppelin classic “The Battle of Evermore.” The raucous crowd fell silent. Grown men had tears in their eyes as they recognized a song that had meant so much to them back in the day. The wind whipped through Krauss’ hair, her image huge on the screens that flanked the stage, her voice wrapping around the tune like a cashmere throw as Plant growled in jagged harmony. At that point, the performance entered some other plane entirely, far above the dusty N’Orleans racetrack where we stood, transfixed. In the minutes that followed, …